Talk with Greg Maguire

One of our tutors, Greg Maguire decided to give us a talk on his animation career, which was so interesting.


  • went to our uni (university of Ulster Belfast) from 1985-89
  • Did foundation year at Belfast Metropolitan then went on to do his degree in design.
  • Failed a few modules before realising he wanted to work with computers
  • Left uni and got a job in Dublin for knowing Boolean, when there he saw there was animation wanted in Belfast.
  • Ended up having to work on commercials for the shop chain, Spar. Obviously, he hated it and ended up phoning a friend who worked at Don Bluth, managed to get into Don Bluth by a fluke of running down to Dublin for a day to hand in his portfolio.
  • Did a job there by doing everything no one else wanted to do like installing software until finally he was asked to model. When working here he got to go to conferences around the world and got to meet the likes of John Lasseter.
  • Everybody was geeking out about everything in the animation field because it was all new and no one had done it yet.
  • Don Bluth badly managed his money, he got money for one movie and used it to finish the previous until finally, he lost everything.
  • Greg went onto work in LA for a month, he lived in a  garage for 3 weeks because the hotel he had been staying at was cockroach infested. Won a grammy for what they created in that month though.
  • By the time he got back to Ireland Don Bluth had got back on his feet financially.
  • 3 months later the guy he had been working with in LA worked at his company for 2 years doing stuff MTV, Coca Cola etc
  • After a while he got an interview at Pixar, he wanted to be an animator but Pixar offered him a lighting job, so he said no. Disney rang him about a month later, he took there job, they gave me a lovely cottage to live in and had 40 hours a week work which was brilliant compared to the hours he had been doing.
  • When he started he realised the guy above him was a prat, he started learning how to rig and ended up rigging over 80 characters for the film Dinosaur.
  • He started going to 2D animation and Storyboard classes as well as sculpture, performance and improv classes, all to learn to a be a good animator. He then got to animate in dinosaur and realised how crap teh rigs where, so he started re-rigging. This went down really well!
  • After that he moved to a teeny 3 man company and was the first company Lucasfilm reachec out to. Around that time Maya became the big thing.
  • Lucasfilm was working with Maya and Greg knew nothing about it.
  • They then started working on Curious George. His visa was great so he could move to whatever company he wanted.
  • Curious George got cancelled and got offered a job at ILM which was an amazing experience.
  • Got taught simulations for Pirates of the Carribean.
  • Good job he learnt it because it came in useful when he did the dementors for Harry Potter.
  • Got phoned to work on Happy Feet and had to rig again but problem being every rigging this was created was owned by the company and not him, so he decided to start his own company. Had the rigs ready for Happy Feet in 3 months.

Gregs Advice

  • Make sure your CV is PDF and easily reachable with keywords like ‘maya’, ‘mel’, ‘creature animator’ etc
  • make sure your cover letter is to a person and not whom may concern.
  • Make sure to send website and showreel
  • Always put your best bits at the beginning.
  • Names, addresses, contact info at begninning and end of the showreel and on every page you send

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